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Professional Development Courses

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Synchronous Online Course

Learning Through Play:
Building Competence and
Skills of NEW Early Childhood
Educators in Facilitating Play

Gain insights into children’s development through

play, and learn basic strategies to design and

implement a play environment for children to build

21st century skills.

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There is strong value in play to nurture 21st-century skills in young children, especially communication, creativity, critical thinking, and collaboration. This online course provides beginning teachers and those with some experience with deeper insights into children’s development through play. It will help learners develop basic knowledge, skills, and dispositions to understand the role of open-ended play for young children of different age groups and stages of development.


We will explore play-based strategies, activities, tools and resources that will help you to bring more playful learning into the classroom and to conduct basic play observations. Attention is given to the role of repurposed and natural materials as a medium for engagement. You will also have the opportunity to design and implement a playful learning approach in your own context.


The course will address the following key questions: How do open-ended play materials stimulate holistic development? What kind of materials and environment is optimal for young children to nurture curiosity, wonder, and positive attitudes? How can educators document play practices?


During the course, you will meet other learners, share your ideas and contribute in active discussions. Learners will be supported by a trainer experienced in pedagogy of play and research, who will respond to questions and assignments on every step of the course. Learners who complete the course and pass the final assessment will receive certification of participation of 16 hours of professional development hours.


This workshop aligns with the Skills Framework for Early Childhood developed by SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG), Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) and Workforce Singapore (WSG). It incorporates international literature, the MOE Nurturing Early Years (NEL) framework, and the ECDA's Early Years Framework.

Who is this course for?

This course is primarily designed for early years and preschool educators and educarers in Singapore. The course will also be of interest to social workers, parents, and caregivers of young children.


*Please note that priority is given to ECDA-registered preschool teachers and educarers in Singapore.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you will be able to:

  • Gain insights into the social and cultural values of play and 21st century skills

  • Identify the characteristics, types, and functions of play

  • Understand the role of the play environment and materials in nurturing children’s development 

  • Design an existing classroom environment into an open-ended play space with the use of natural and repurposed materials

  • Explain the values and desired outcomes of play in relation to 21st century skills

  • Explain the positive role of play by collecting evidence and documenting learning processes

  • Reflect on the many changes of childhood in the 21st century

  • Critique and present the role of play pedagogies and facilitation through peer sharing, presentations, and peer assessments

Course Trainer

Dr Esther Joosa (PhD) 

Dr. Esther Joosa is the founder and director of an international arts education consultancy, Arts of the Earth Learning Hub. She possesses a keen interest in audience engagement, pedagogies in play, and space design for creative spaces and classrooms. As an active researcher and a member of AEA, ISCAR, and IASSIDD, Dr. Esther Joosa engages in international discussions about research and the role of people with disabilities and marginalized communities in the development of creative practices.


Dr Esther holds a PhD in Arts Education from the National Institute of Education, Singapore. In 2004, with her presentation "The Visual Arts: Opening Windows to the Contemporary World," she was the first arts-based researcher in Singapore advocating the opportunities of the arts for persons with disabilities. Her work has encompassed several unique projects, such as designing the standards for visual art in special education in Singapore, giving voice through art to mothers and children affected by HIV in India, curating "Deep Down," a global art exhibition of the art of persons with Down syndrome in Mexico, and "Open Minds, Open Doors: Creating Opportunities through Unstructured Play for Young Children with Disabilities”, a partnership with Playeum since 2019.

What Past Participants Said

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The whole session was informative and applicable to my role as a teacher. Learning more about the importance of play in the development of the children and delving more into the different characteristics and value types of play was valuable too.

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I feel like I learned a lot and it gave me lots of insights as well as in-depth understanding of play.

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It really helped me to innovate more; using materials that we thought we could never use again.

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I find play now as a great tool to get children to learn concepts, practise skills, collaborate and communicate with friends, and most especially to show empathy.

Course Dates for 2024

Run 1:      15 April, 17 April, & 6 May 2024

Run 2:      24 June, 26 June, & 15 July 2024

Run 3:      9 September, 11 September, & 30 September 2024

Fee Details

Full Fee | SGD 560 (without GST)


Subsidies of up to 70% are available for eligible Singapore Citizens (SCs) and Permanent Residents (PRs) under the SkillsFuture Singapore grant. For details, please visit


For ECDA-registered preschool teachers and educarers


Please register for the course via the ONE@ECDA platform at least 14 days prior to the commencement of the selected course run.


Course Name | Learning Through Play: Building Competence and Skills of New Early Childhood Educators in Facilitating Play


Course Code | CPABCSN17E

For all other participants


Please email to to indicate your interest and preferred course run.


Please email to Alisa at, or reach out to us at 9726 4758.

About Playeum

Playeum was founded in 2009 and established in 2013 as a registered charity with an Institution of a Public Character (IPC) status dedicated to using play and the arts to create equitable learning opportunities, opportunities for voice and agency for every child in Singapore. Our vision is that one day, all children in Singapore, regardless of their differences and backgrounds, will be able to thrive as the best versions of themselves.


We collaborate with partners with a shared vision, and connect with various sectors in society to create structural change for equitable outcomes through community- and family-centric programmes, teacher training, research, and advocacy.


Playeum is a member of the National Council of Social Service, and supported by the NAC Cultural Matching Fund. All qualifying donations to Playeum will receive a 250% tax deduction and matched dollar-for-dollar. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  • How do I check how much SkillsFuture Credits I have?

    • Please log in to MySkillsFuture Portal using your Singpass or your FIN. Once logged in, you can view your available SkillsFuture Credit balance under ‘SkillsFuture Credit’.

  • When will my SkillsFuture Credits expire?

    • The original $500 SkillsFuture Credit that was provided in 2016 has no expiry date. Any unused SkillsFuture Credit provided as part of the one-off SkillsFuture Credit Top-up and Additional SkillsFuture Credit (Mid-Career Support) will expire on 31 December 2025.


  • When must I submit my claim for SkillsFuture Credits?

    • At the point of course registration, you should inform your Training Partner (Playeum) that you intend to use your SkillsFuture Credit in part or in full for the qualifying course fee. You should then submit your claim on the MySkillsFuture Portal within 60 days before the course start date (date inclusive).

    • Please note that you can only submit claims for amounts that are less than or equal to your account balance, or equal to the full course fee, whichever is lower.

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